My Life With Medicine – The Chronic Pain Truth

When you’re living with chronic pain, medicine is a part of your life. The year is filled with doctor visits, follow-ups, tests, prescriptions and refills. The medicine helps relieve some of the pain. That sharp pain, the pain that takes your breath away – and not like in the fairy tale books. This is the type of pain that stops you in your tracks and makes you close your eyes in pain and at times brings on those silent tears. The ones that no one other than you knows about. You’re unable speak and find yourself closing your hand in a fist – from the pain. After a few minutes, that intense pain is gone. And you think, “I’ll take my medicine to help me get through the next one.” And I do.

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I take the concoction that the doctor thinks will truly work this time! He say’s, “take these two in the morning, this one for nausea, this one for vertigo and these 2 at night.” I see him on my next visit and tell him, it’s a go! It’s working, the combination that we’re trying is working!

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And because nothing is perfect, nothing comes without a ‘cost,’ I tell him about my side effects. The medicine although helping relieve the pain, discomfort, aches and the daily needle like pain, the side effects take time to accept. All medicine have side effects and that’s the truth. And my medicine, are for the most part, muscle relaxers. If you recall, what I have is all in the nervous system – the brain and spinal cord. These muscle relaxers cause a ‘sedation’ type effect on your body. It brings on fatigue and weakness, which in turn cause me to feel extremely tired.

It’s a feeling of having not had slept in a long time. That sleep that causes you to close your eyes while speaking to someone – oh but you don’t intend to be rude! You just can’t help it! And you sleep and sleep and sleep. Because the sleep is what removes you from the pain and for short periods of time, you’re taken to a place where you are in pain no more.

In turn for taking my prescription medicine …

I feel left out,

Alone and afraid,

Like a bad mom, wife,

Like I can’t keep up with life or my kids.

It’s caused me to …

lose friendships,

give up friendships,

cancel, and

feel frustrated.

Yes, it’s true! You take something on to then give up others. You give up the life you once knew, for the life that’s been handed. The new cards. The new circumstance. The life with chronic pain.

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Note To Self For This New Year – 2020

How incredible that I’ve made it this far?! I want to start the month off by writing a few truths to myself and what version of me I want to be moving forward.

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In living with chronic pain there are always different feelings, one minute I’m tired, the next I’m happy, excited, the next I’m drained and filled with intense physical pain. So, as much as I can’t control nor predict how I’ll be feeling physically, I want to be a little more positive moving forward. It can be draining to feel as if I’m a walking ‘Debby Downer.’ Or am I just imagining that?! Perhaps I am – I tend to be a little dramatic.

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Note to self for this new year – 2020. Be honest with self.

+ Stop feeling sorry for your illness. Things happen, trust in Him that all will be well.

+ Yes. You are sick. Accept it.

+ No one’s judging you for your illness. They just don’t know better.

+ Take your medication, including your vitamins, they’re good for you. Less pain equals less mood swings.

+ Schedule your doctors appointments. It is for your well being. If not for you, for your family.

+ Take charge of your life.

+ Don’t make commitments. You can’t keep them. Not because you don’t want to, but because you can’t predict how you will feel.

+ Your children will admire your strength and determination to keep going – despite it all.

+ Stop wanting people to understand your illness. They don’t. And they won’t. And that’s OK.

+ People don’t understand the energy that it takes for you to be open to ‘doing’ things – accepting visitors etc. It’s OK.

+ Put your energy into those who matter.

+ Be patient. Patience will get you far.

+ Be loving with yourself. Love yourself. Your body will love you for it. The weight gain is minuscule to what really matters. THYROID equals your weight gain. No one is entitled nor deserves to know this. You do. And that’s enough.

+ You’re sick. Accept it. Once you do, you’ll see life differently and only then, will you truly begin to live.

I’m sure there are one or two things that may have slipped my mind. But for now, this is a good start. These truths are not to demean or shame myself, they’re to help me see who I am and who I’d like to be moving forward.

A-

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Chiari Is My Unwelcome House Guest

The past week has been a whirlwind. I’ve had my ups and downs and have been a ball of emotions. Last weekend I had to be taken to the ER due extremely intolerable symptoms due to Chiari and since then have had this week to recover at home from such events. Yes, I do take medication for many of my ongoing symptoms but when the medicine doesn’t do what it’s meant to help with, I progressively feel worse, and that’s when I take a trip to the ER. It’s no fun, it’s tiring and unfortunately I’ve been to my local hospitals ER more than I’d like to admit.

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While at the hospital though, I came to thinking about Chiari and what it means to me. I was thinking of what I can compare it to. I had so many nurses and a doctor come in to see me in my room and had no idea what Chiari nor Syringomyelia was. I don’t blame them though, the lack of knowledge and education on such a rare illness is seen too often, especially in the medical field.

I finally narrowed Chiari to this – that unwelcome house guest.

The one that refuses to leave no matter what signals you throw at it.

The one that has no remorse in overstaying their welcome.

The one that doesn’t shy away from being loud.

It has the worst timing!

It doesn’t care what day of the week it is.

It’s there and it isn’t looking like it has a departure date set.

If you have someone close to you that has chronic pain, lives with Chiari Malformation, Syringomyelia or any other illness, the best thing you can do for them is educate yourself on the matter. It’ll mean more to them then you’ll ever know.

Happy Friday,

A-

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Reblog Wednesday: Success Is Not By Accident: Perseverance And Hard Work – The Key To Success — Motivation, inspirational articles, quotes and life hacks

I read this post by Savvy Life 101 and was so inspired by it, I thought I’d share it with you for ‘Reblog Wednesday.’ I recently wrote a post on Lack of Motivation and what I do to keep me motivated while living with chronic pain. And I shared a picture that I hope inspires you, a picture of the places where top companies got their start, companies like Google, Disney and Mattel.

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This post that I share with you today is in correlation with my post, how anyone can be successful, anyone. We all have the same amount of time in the day, wealthy or not. The difference is the productivity, are you wasting away the hours in the day or are you practicing healthy habits and taking advantage of the hours in your day and working smart.

It’s not a matter of being born into a life of wealth to be successful, it’s a matter of wanting to reach your desire goal and how much you are willing to do to reach it. The post lists 5 great points to help you get organized and on your way to thinking what changes need to be made in order to get to where you want to be.

Do you want to earn more money to live more comfortably, do you want to stop living pay check to pay check, do you want to finally begin that what never began? Read the post, where I’m sure you’ll get some helpful tips to get you started.

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Success Is Not By Accident: It Is Hard Work Do you want to succeed in life? I’m sure the answer is probably yes. Listen up closely so that I can give you one of the best advice in life: Success is not by accident. You have to work smart and hard for it. We all […]

via Success Is Not By Accident: Perseverance And Hard Work – The Key To Success — Motivation, inspirational articles, quotes and life hacks

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Unapologetic and Living With Chronic Pain

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It’s been with me for so long that I forget who I was before my Chiari diagnosis. The pain-free, care-free days are behind me. I have enough pain meds too embarrassing to say. There are days I want to go on without them – and feel human.

As time has gone by I’ve realized how much time I’ve spent trying to make others understand the depth of my chronic pain. I can’t change the way people perceive my illness, my diagnosis, my feelings, my physical limitations, nothing! The ‘ole ‘but you don’t look sick’ gets old quick. I know myself, what my day to day looks like, and I, myself know exactly what I have to live with – and that is enough.

There’s are certain feelings of guilt that come with chronic pain. The guilt of not being the mom I want to be, the wife I want to be, the daughter, friend, etc. and not living to peoples expectations of who they want me to be.

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I am not physically able and available and that is nothing I should continue to be ashamed of. I can’t be present in others lives as much as I’d like – or at all. I am physically unable to do many things, and only desire to push myself to my limits for my children, my family – no one else. Others expectations should not affect me, the Instagram worthy pictures of family outings should no longer tug at my heart, yearning those days to return to my own life. This is my perfect life, I am perfectly chronically in pain and will continue to be until my days end. I’m not sorry for others not understanding what I live with. I’m only sorry I’ve spent so much time convincing them my words and behavior are due to the constant struggle of battling with chronic pain while being positive. I will not allow others to cut me with their words. There is no need for excuses, I’m struggling and I don’t owe anyone an explanation for my absence.

Because no one is worth allowing them to break me down.

Happy Saturday.

A-

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Brain Surgery May 9, 2013 – Chiari Malformation

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May 9, 2013 is marked within the deepest part of her soul. 

It’s only brain surgery they said.

8 hours into a place of the unknown, she drifted to a deep sleep. 

You never know who or what may change your life – until it does.

And the 8 hours are up, she awakes to a new life – a life of chronic pain that can only been seen in her face.

It’s an invisible illness they said. 

She struggles to maintain her composure.

How does one live with pain, deep pain, pain that doesn’t discriminate and doesn’t stop to ask you your name.

SHE does, she struggles, she cries, she hurts, she screams, she writes, she draws, she smiles, because when time doesn’t stop, she can’t stop.

And when she asks for help, he says, I can’t take the pain, but I can give you something for the pain.

She continues to scream the silent scream.

Be grateful, be thankful – they say.

But when one has no other choice but to be strong, then strong she is. 

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month and being that our mental health is just as important as your physical health, I encourage you to get screened, get help or ask for help. There are both adults and children going through some type of mental illness – break the stigma, it’s not bad, you’re not crazy and you can get better by getting help.

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Photo: Max van den Oetelaar

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“Hang In There”

I suspect you already know that with every chronic illness come a few doctors appointments – or many. I had to see my doctor recently as the pain in my neck doesn’t get any better and the medication was running low, so back I went to see my Neurologist. There is a strange thing that happens but with each MRI comes a new result. In reviewing my last MRI on his monitor I noticed a curve on top of my neck in the shape of a letter ‘C’ you could say. But we simply continued talking and moved on. However, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and asked him about it. He said a curve like that is normal say on an 80 year old, but not on someone my age. The two surgeries I’ve had, the first in 2013 and the other on 2017, both have been entered through the back of my neck, so my neck has taken quite a bit. The result, it’s caused the top part of my spine to collapse – hence the letter ‘C’ shape, the other result, pain, the remedy, more medicine. We will try a new medication to manage the pain and come back to revisit the issue. I thanked him for his time and as I’m leaving he says, “hang in there.”

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Those simple words have taken over my mind. How many times does something unprecedented happened? And you, “hang in there” or you have absolutely no choice but to do just that?! Aren’t we all doing just that for different reasons, for the sake of your own sanity, because you’re going through a break up, a job loss, marriage issues, financial issues, whatever the case maybe, you’re “hanging in there.”

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As anger wanted to creep up inside me, I thought of hope. The word hope. The hope that this will continue to help me gain patience for myself and my body, and hope that I will continue to live life, this new life with much gratitude, the life with physical pain, but life nonetheless.

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